Major names in U.S. business have distanced themselves from the powerful U.S. gun lobbyists, the National Rifle Association. Corporations have revoked discounts offered to NRA members; the group claims to have 5 million of them.
And in the case of retail giant Walmart, it’s stopping selling guns to customers under 21, as is the much smaller Dick’s Sporting Goods, which is also taking high-powered weapons off its shelves altogether.
CGTN’s John Terrett reports.
Other major national chain stores are following the example set by Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which a teenage gunman killed 17 students and teachers, is the reason.
Professor Russell Winer said standing up to the NRA and its millions of members is a bold and courageous business decision. There are millions more Americans who are not NRA members, but who love their guns and support the right to bear arms.
“Ultimately, it’s the CEO, the CEO has to make a stand and say this is what we stand for, enough is enough, a lot of families shop at our stores, a lot of families use our airline and we don’t want to see more children murdered anymore,” Winer said.
And that sentiment is going global too. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, said it’ll steer investors away from gun maker stocks or companies associated with them. It may also use its voting power on company boards to sway the issue.
The NRA is pushing back, saying it’s members don’t care about a few discounts disappearing.
Professor Winer said for Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods this really is quite a risk their customers tend not to come from east coast and west coast elites who campaign for gun reform but the more rural heartland of America where guns are more prevalent.
But he siad it may turn out to be a risk worth taking if the good name of their brands is to be preserved.
“Now all of a sudden maybe people will think that maybe Dick’s Sporting Goods stands for justice or saving kids lives or something like that where they wouldn’t have thought of that before”
There are plenty of other contentious issues politicians tend to shy away from in which business might take a lead, plastic waste removal and immigration for example, leaving many to wonder if this is the start of a new trend in which corporate America drives the political momentum in this country.
John Donohue discusses how corporations are tackling gun control and ties to the NRA
CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to Stanford University professor John Donohue about how corporations are dealing with the hot button issue of gun control and their ties to the NRA.